Cooking Stoves

The Trangia

Normally borrowed, the most popular stove is the Trangia (available in two sizes Model 27 designed for one or two people and Model 25 for three to four people) which can be fuelled by either a self-sealing gas cartridge or methylated spirit.  The stove comes complete with a cook set of two aluminium saucepans (Model 25 has a 1.75 and 1.5 litre and Model 27 has  two 1.0 litre) and frying pan (doubles as lid) together with a wind shield.  Every effort must be made to practice economy at all times and keep the amount of fuel carried to the minimum.  You will need to have sufficient fuel not only to cook your food, wash up and brew a generous supply of drinks, but possibly to sterilise water as well.  It is essential that you determine, before your expedition, how much fuel you will need to carry.

This will depend on what you cook and the weather,  If it is windy you will burn more fuel.  The rule of thumb for gas burners is that a 230g gas cartridge will boil a pint (half a litre) of water approx 20 times (referred to below as units) before running out.  If you have meals and drinks which require you to “add boiling water”, it is a relatively straight forward calculation to work out how much fuel you will use on an expedition.  However, many foods, e.g.  porridge or rice, require you to bring to the boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes.  If a simple boil is 1 unit, a boil plus simmer will be 1.5. 

Thus, for 2 people a breakfast of porridge (1.5) and a hot drink (1) plus cereal bars, chocolate, etc. will equal 2.5 boiling units.  4 breakfasts = 10 units or half a cartridge.  An evening meal involving rice (1.5), a beef curry sauce mix (1.5), a flavored custard and biscuits (1) and a hot drink before (soup) or after (tea/coffee/hot choc) (1) would use up 5 units.  3 evening meals = 15 units.  Add to the breakfasts and you will use 25 units.  You may therefore need one 230g cartridge and a 100g one.  Three of you cooking together will not need 50% more fuel but you would probably need two 230g cartridges.

Methylated spirit must be transported in a metallic fuel bottle that is specifically designed for the purpose, such as trangia's own fuel bottle which incorporates a safety valve.  These come in three different sizes 0.3, 0.5 and 1.0 litres.  It will take approx 50ml of methylated spirit to boil one litre of water in 10 to 15 minutes.  If 50ml equals 1 unit, two people would need 1250ml or 1¼ litres, using the above formula.  Three people would probably need 1¾ litres, or 2 litres to be safe.

Never add additional fuel into an already lit burner - let it go out first.  Drop a blade of grass into the burner or hold a sheet of paper just above the burner to determine if the Trangia is lit.  Do not refill a stove until you are sure that the flame is completely extinguished and the stove has cooled.  If the stove is too hot to handle, then it is too hot to be refuelled.  Do not overfill the burner, around 2/3 full is the maximum height that meths should reach in the burner cup. (one filling will burn for approximately 25 minutes, less when it is windy).  The burner should be taken to the fuel, not the fuel to the burner (if the burner is cool enough to pick up it won’t still be alight).   It should be taken downwind, away from the tents, where it should be filled or refilled.  When packing away the cold trangia burner into the pans, put it in its own plastic bag to help reduce any contamination to the pans.

To help with fuel conservation when cooking, use the lid on the pans to cook quicker and conserve the fuel.  Heat can be adjusted with the simmering ring on the burner, this will slow down the rate the fuel is used.  Use fuel remaining in the burner for making coffee or tea.  Wind can drastically increase the cooking time and fuel consumption, ensure you cook out of strong winds.  Only use enough fuel in the burner for your intended cooking as it takes longer for the fuel in a full stove burner to heat to optimal temperature (producing a hot flame) than it does if you use only the amount necessary.  Therefore you save fuel.